The island nation of Cyprus is famous for its idyllic beaches and views of the bright turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. As the most populated island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus has plenty to offer visitors.
The cities and towns are sun-drenched and relaxed and there are many historic sites to discover, from the impressive Roman architecture at Salamis to the romantic ruins of St. Hilarion Castle. Pay a visit to the most famous beach on the island, Aphrodite’s Beach, named after the rocks that dominate the landscape and where it is believed the Greek goddess emerged from the sea. Or explore the fascinating walled city of Nicosia, the last divided capital in Europe, as it is half Greek and half Turkish and represents the divided nature of the island itself.
Cyprus is a popular cruise destination in itineraries exploring the Mediterranean, with companies such as Azamara, Crystal, MSC, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Thomson, Holland America and Voyages to Antiquity including the island as a port of call.
The largest port in Cyprus is the port of Limassol on the island’s southern coast, and this is where most cruise ships dock. The port itself is located on the outskirts of the city of Limassol, and transfers are available to take visitors into the centre.
Another important tourist port is Larnaca, which is located on the east coast. Cruise lines such as Holland America and Thomson dock at Larnaca Bay, from which the city of Larnaca is easily accessible.
The passenger terminal at Limassol has facilities for exchanging currency, public telephones, a duty-free shop and a tourist information point. Some cruise lines organise a shuttle to take visitors into town, but there are also plenty of taxis at the terminal. Limassol itself has plenty of facilities, with many shops, eateries and hotels to ensure visitors enjoy their time in the city.For passengers on cruise ships docking at Lanarca Bay, it is possible to walk from there into Lanarca’s city centre, where like Limassol, there are plenty of facilities as well as lots to do and see.
How to Get Around
When visiting Cyprus, most tourists will want to not only explore the port cities where their ship docks, but also around the island. Popular destinations, such as the capital Nicosia or the Roman ruins at Kourion, are best explored by taking a tour or driving into the countryside. It is possible to rent a car or organise an independent guided tour in both Limassol and Lanarca, but it is a good idea to check what your cruise offers first.
There are buses in Cyprus; the urban ones in particular are useful for getting around town. However, for rural or inter-city travel, this option can be rather slow.
Travel times from Limassol port:
- It is a 30 minute journey to Aphrodite’s Beach (aka Petra tou Romiou)
- It is a 40 minute journey to Kourion
- It is a 60 minute journey to Nicosia.
Travel times from Lanarca port:
- It is a 1 hour and 20 minute journey to Aphrodite’s Beach (aka Petra tou Romiou)
- It is a 1 hour and 30 minute journey to Kourion
- It is a 45 minute journey to Nicosia.
- Currency – Cyprus uses the Euro (€). Denominations are: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coins and €1, and €2 coins. Bank notes come in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500 notes. There are facilities for currency conversion in the major cities, as well as at the Limassol port passenger terminal.
- Time Zone – Cyprus operates on Eastern European Time (EET), which is 2 hours ahead of Universal Standard Time (UTC). Daylight Savings begins at the end of March, when the clocks are set forward 1 hour. The island returns to standard time in October.
- Weather – The island of Cyprus enjoys exceptionally sunny weather, with a hot dry summer lasting from mid-May until mid-September. Generally, temperatures hover between 25-30 degrees Celsius in summer, with inland places like Nicosia heating up to about 36 degrees Celsius. Winter temperatures average at around 12-17 degrees Celsius.
- Paphos – The city of Paphos is a major tourist attraction on an island full of amazing sights. Home to stunning beaches, beautiful countryside and historic, archaeological sites, Paphos is well worth a visit. Many tours journey to Paphos; however, it can also be reached by car as it is about an hour’s drive along the motorway from Limassol.
- Limassol Medieval Castle – This impressive castle is located in the heart of the old town of Limassol and boasts a fascinating history and houses the Medieval Museum of Cyprus. The castle is open all year round, and entrance costs €4.50.
- Nicosia – A visit to Cyprus wouldn’t be complete without checking out its fascinating capital. Easily accessible from both Limassol and Lanarca, the city is famous for its division between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Visitors can cross between the two sides but note that you will need your passport to do so.